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Sarah Palin plays the media like a violin: Her turn now

Sarah palin one nation Bus As Seen From the Rear 5-31-11

Sarah Palin, with her counterintuitive secret publicity bus tour, is demonstrating one of the most important rules of American politics:

There is nothing the U.S. media wants more than something it thinks it can't have. Hence the power of news leaks that manipulate the thrust of their initial presentation. Hard-to-get is a rigid rule of human behavior. Ask any teenage boy or girl.

And there are few things more sweet to Palin and her fervent supporters cheering their TV sets this week than the image of a hungry know-it-all "lamestream media" caravan of 15 or more vehicles traipsing along behind her red-white-and-blue bus enroute to they-know-not-where to do they-know-not-what.

To make it worse, each one of the frustrated, confused chasers knows that Fox News' Greta Van Susteren is....

...riding along with the not-yet-and-possibly-never Republican presidential candidate, filing exclusive conversations for her audience to gobble up that only enhance Palin's already million-dollar value to FNC. Can you hear the teeth grinding? While Palin smiles and waves away?

The day's best line came from a CBS News producer who tried to claim that the lack of information from Palin's lumbering bus was endangering the dozen competing media vehicles trailing behind, uninvited.

As Michelle Malkin puts it so succinctly here, "The boys behind the bus."

Speaking of CBS, Katie Couric's unemployed now. And forget that front porch in Alaska. Sarah Palin can see revenge from her rear window.

Not that such a thing would ever cross the mind of the 2008 vice presidential candidate whose instant popularity and inexperienced gaffes invited so much media mocking and political hostility back when she needed those people to get out John McCain's campaign message.

Polls schmolls. The tables are turned now. And it's the best political entertainment of the campaign so far.

The media on campaigns is accustomed to being courted, even catered to with assigned airplane seats, meals, transportation to events, seats waiting, transcripts, the upcoming advance schedule, self-serving secrets confided.

But now they want/need Palin more than vice versa. They know the ratings when she's on. And they know bosses love ratings. So, they follow along in the exhaust.

"I don’t think I owe anything to the mainstream media," Palin said on Fox. "I think that it would be a mistake for me to become some kind of conventional politician and doing things the way it’s always been done with the media, in terms of relationships with them.”

And if this bus junket sucks some or all of the oxygen out of Mitt Romney's big announcement Thursday, so be it.

It's Joe Biden's turn to be in Europe this week (Italy through Saturday to celebrate 150 years of unification). So President Obama will have to meet with the Republicans on this debt ceiling silliness that they want tied to significant budget cuts.

Forget petty Palin vengeance. This strategy fits the independent woman-of-the-people optics Palin wants now, much as she's relied for months on Facebook and Twitter to spoonfeed the public and media exactly and only what she wants out there. Talk of "true change." Restoring America, not transforming it.

Whether Palin runs for office again or not, she is a brand. If she can help shape the summer's GOP discussion agenda in a so-farSarah palin in the rolling thunder veterans motorcycle parade 5-29-11 bland field of folks simply by being and occasionally speaking out, why bother with the crap that comes with official campaigning?

Who knows what lightning might strike come August? And if not, who will she endorse among Republicans? She could be an influential king -- or queen -- maker. At worst, she's more famous and controversial for TV and the next book.

Tuesday, as our astute buddy Tony Pierce wrote here, Palin announced that she was in favor of ending all energy subsidies, including ethanol. So the afternoon's discussion topic was her, even though Tim Pawlenty said the same thing about ethanol last week to little notice. And Tuesday many who dislike Palin were saying, well, you know, I kinda agree with her there.

This unorthodox, to say the least, strategy also fits Palin's go-with-her-gut political M.O. Who'd have thought going in that a Wasilla city councilwoman would become mayor? Or make such a stir on the oil and gas commission? Or challenge an entrenched aged state Republican establishment and its incumbent governor? And actually win that primary?

And then in the general, defeat a better-known Democrat trying to return to the governor's office? And remember too when Palin's surprise gubernatorial resignation halfway through the first term terminated, according to the media, any chance that she'd have any role in American politics ever again?

Judging by the attempted coverage of her not-so-secret "One Nation" bus tour this week by the same media, apparently not.


Donald Trump and Sarah Palin have a pizza summit in New York

And here's video of their encounter:

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photos: Jeff Fusco / Getty Images (Palin's bus as seen from the rear); Matt Rourke / Associated Press (Palin and daughter Piper talk with tourists at the Liberty Bell Tuesday); Reuters (Palin in the Rolling Thunder veterans parade, May 29).

Comments () | Archives (358)

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These comments make me so happy I don't live in L.A. I love my flyover state.

I'm loving this.

She has the media wrapped around her little finger. Call her names, cal her dumb. She is savvy.

It's like the media are on drugs. The want to kick the habit but cant.

Yes, I'm loving this

After the way the media has treated Palin ever since the media realized she was an outstanding presenter of conservative/Christian values, she became their worse enemy because they knew she would be a force that could defeat Obama. The media even tried to indirectly accuse her of the shooting of Gabby Gifford in Arizona. The media hates her, and now they are desperately trying to find ways to condemn her for this bus trip...She is the liberal media's worse nightmare.

Lest we all forget, like Palin, Greta Van Susteren is not the brightest bulb in the box either. One lost Alaska by ignorance and then the VP job and the other couldn't put OJ away with a courtroom full of evidence

Posted by: anOPINIONATEDsob | June 01, 2011 at 02:18 AM


Talk about ignorance - Greta van Susteren didn't have anything to do with the OJ Simpson trial. She was a legal analyst for CNN who did commentary on the trial.

The number of lefties posting here is even more amazing than Palin's latest rise to stardom.

Oh, WAIT! -- no wonder so many negative comments -- this is a 'lefty' newspaper website.

Let's see whether THIS appears in comments.

I wish I had a better explanation as to why liberal women hate Sarah Palin so vehemently...besides the obvious! Donna!

Nothing like watching a bunch of libs get agitated and chew on each others' shoulders. "She's going to injure one of our media!"

Katie Couric and all the rest of the state run media papperazzi would lick her boots for an interview now LOL

I've never been a fan of Palin. A little too conservative for my centrist liking.

But I think she got treated miserably by the media in 2008 and ever since. I can understand disagreeing with her on issues, but the over the top venom thrown at her by the media is unbelievable.

Good for her that she's turning the table on the media and having some fun at her expense.


LOL. Greta was not the prosecutor, she was a CNN analyst.

It is so funny seeing people talk about others being stupid when they themselves have no clue about even the most basic facts of the discussion.

I love it! Sarah Palin is sufficiently intelligent to be President of the USA. She obviously does not have a pack of advisors telling her what to do. She nis following her own instincts which have served her well in her career. And she has the attitude, ideas and ideology that appeals to the Tea Party types (people who don't care about parties but do care about the out of control president and Congress).
It genuinely puzzles me why liberals hate her so much. The only thing I can think of is she is effective and therefore dangerous to their influence.
I don't care what Sarah does as long as she keeps on doing it. As the piece says, Sarah can see a lot of things now from her porch and it feels good.

Like Palin, I just like seeing Democrat heads explode. BTW, she's a Christian and the Demos say she plotted 9/11, not the innocent Muslims, and I'm an atheist and I'll vote for her, no worries.

The media clearly have a love-hate relationship with Sarah Palin. They hate her guts but can't seem to get enough of her. It's fun to watch their turmoil.

Oh, yeah. Stay skinny, Sarah. And kick ass.

For all their hyperbole to the contrary, liberals prefer their women weak and broken. Liberal women offer plenty of "faux strength" by showing how many men they can bed, or how much booze they can sock away, but real strength? That's what Palin has. And that shames liberals when they see it.

Even with all the cover the mainstream media gives the oaf currently partying at the White House, anyone with an iota of awareness knows he's in over his head.

Anyone who frustrates the leftist, sycophant, economy killing main stream media tool of Obama, cannot be bad.

I like Sarah. I don't care if she runs or not. She is celebrating the roots of this Great Nation and exposing the soft underbelly of the leftist main stream media. They are livid that she isn't playing by their rules. I love it and it's an important action to be taken. God Bless Sarah and her Family. Rock On Girl!


Sarah is this and Sarah is that and she is so dumb and she is playing the media like a cheap violin and she hasent got the skills for this and that and blah, blah, blah.
Ok so lets add the LA Times to the lidt of cheap violins she played. Lets also remember the very publications that are currently trashing Palin with every move she makes are the same publications and media that placed Mr Success in office. So there goes that crediability. I remember the press swooning over Obama and one reporter even said "Obama will make a great president because he looks so predidential".
So if Sarah Palin is unelectable and if she is so stupid and unimformed then why does hundreds and hundreds of reporters follow her around and insist on attacking her. She holds her composure really well. Doesn't get flustered.
The clowns in the press better hope she doesnt get elected because if she ever felt she had ax axe to grind.
If she runs I will vote for her, she is stronger than the current floor show in DC.
My advice to the press...REMAIN neutral...when you pick a side then you will fall into one of two catagories a winner or a loser. Remain neutral and let the people judge. Report only facts and not your opinions. Nobody respects what the media thinks. The media lies more than politicians. And thats saying something!

Pagans for Palin 2012.

Lest YOU forgot Greta Van Susteran did not try that case AND Palin didn't lose Alaska you buffoon, she resigned to get the liberal press off Alaska's ass! LMAO@U - and didn't you mention the word "ignorance"? So cute reading the comments from liberals, next time write your comments in crayon at home!

I've never been a fan of Palin. A little too conservative for my centrist liking.

But I think she got treated miserably by the media in 2008 and ever since. I can understand disagreeing with her on issues, but the over the top venom thrown at her by the media is unbelievable.

Good for her that she's turning the table on the media and having some fun at her expense.

Posted by: FGH | June 01, 2011 at 02:03 PM

My feelings exactly. In fact after all the campaign promises that Obama broke I have started to look at the republicans. If I am going to be fed republican policies, I want to have a republican as a president. And when it comes to Republican candidates, why not Palin, given that she has a proven record of being anti-establishment.

@ opinionatedSOB, you are the dumbest of dumb. First, Greta Van Susteren was not the prosecutor of the OJ case, she was the main reporter covering the case. She is also an attorney, and you're probably the french fry guy at in-and-out burger. Get a life. Secondly, last time I checked, Palin was the governor of Alaska with an 80% approval rating and oversaw the largest oil and gas industry in the country. She also has best selling books, has made tens of millions selling books. So why don't you just sit there in your basement and figure out why your so F**king stupid!

Every day that Sarah Palin is out there talking and bringing a conservative message to those who gather to see her, is another poke in the eye to the media that has so viciously tried to marginalize or blame her for everything that isn't George Bush's fault, like the shooting in Phoenix, or global warming. She's an intelligent woman who has a track record of getting things done, and frankly, a better leader than the golfer in chief. If Obama didn't have all the media at his beck and call, and they actually acted like journalists instead of decendents of Hitler's propaganda machine, he would fold up like a golf game scorecard. Good for Sarah. If she wins, fine. If she doesn't run, she still wins, by surviving the unfair characterizations, unfounded criticism, and the blowhards that think they can mold reality by lying.

Posted by: Donna H | June 01, 2011 at 02:25 AM:"She's an irresponsible, egotistical woman who gives no thought as to how she could be endangering others through her actions. The article mentions the media caravan, but doesn't talk about the chaos created, as in Philadelphia, when the reporters don't know where she's going to show up and run madly about trying to find her. "

At least she does this on her own dime unlike your hero the Egomaniac Chancellor MaObama who takes vacation after vacation courtesy of the US Taxpayer. Wonder how the residents of NY City liked his date night with Mochelle where the roads were all blocked so he can act like an emperor when everybody knows he is an arrogant jackass communist America hater.

Obama cannot carry Sara Palin's shoes. By comparison he is an idiot, a brown-noser, an apologist, incompetent, immature. He is a boy in a "man's world" or in this case Palin's world. She has what it takes, Obama does not and never will.

Palin influences only a small number, not enough for presidential office or VP--she was partially responsible for McCain's crushing defeat. She does attract bigtime public interest, but like a freaky celebrity; most don't take her seriously. Hard to understand why so many find her entertaining and amusing; I think she's just incredibly annoying. Media deserves the rough travel conditions, trailing this clownish woman everywhere and publicizing her. That's what they get for imposing her on the nation, constantly showing her silly face and playing her videos on TV, websites, and newspapers.

I can't believe anyone takes Sarah Palin seriously. She is an embarrassment to women, her family, Alaska, gun owners, America, Republicans -- any group she represents.

Posted by: Jen | June 01, 2011 at 10:53 AM

Speak for yourself Libutard. Not interested in your arrogant superiority complex diatribe.

Good to see a positive article about Sarah Palin - and one that understands the decline in power of the lamestream media. From the perspective of media theory Sarah is exploiting / even driving the new media revolution to finally usurp the relevance of old media. Smart woman - good values.

Its also interesting how the relentless lamestream media attacks on Sarah and conservatives have served to draw attention to Saul Allinsky.

She wont run because she is a coward, how can she lead the country when she's afraid of CNN.

It's funny to think that Americans are so easily led by the lefty media, a herd mentality that led Americans by the nose to vote for a man with little or no experience for the job other then being a "community organizer" and a so called inspiring speech reader. These same Americans have been led by their polarizing, corrupt media to hate Sarah Palin, despite the fact she has far more experience in governance then the media's candidate from Chicago. As an outsider it is fascinating to read and hear the indoctrinated hatred directed toward a fellow American like Sarah Palin, while America and her media continue to duck and cover for the worst President the country has ever seen. America is a great country and it's sad to see the media created polarization of the public, and the attempts at turning Americans against one another. God Bless America.

@ Donna, people are responsible for themselves. If one of these media morons hurts themself or someone else, it is THEIR fault. As an American citizen, Mrs. Palin can travel the country freely as she see's fit.

She's one of us. One of US!

I couldn't quit laughing when I read where somebody in the lame stream media said she was endangering them by causing them to follow her around. Another towering intellect in the media said she was breaking some sort of federal law by driving around in a bus with American symbols on it!
And they say Sarah Palin is dumb???

Hey Donna H., Does a mistake here or there on current events make Palin "Irresponsible or Egotistical"? If we are only judged by our mistakes, how will the world view you? The congresswoman who was shot and for whom you blame Palin is Gabrielle Giffords, not Kathy Giffords. Guess you'll never run for public office now.

Mrs. Palin is playing the media like a violin all right. Too bad the other politicians lack the nads to do the same because they need to consider their careers and the hell with what the position incurs. Sara pulls to the forefront what the American public holds dear. Politicians blab about it but Sara puts it in words that the public understands and inflames them to do something about it. Politicians are using the old manual of the past and we are sick of it because we can recite it from memory. It's disgusting its taken so long for someone to communicate at a level that's believable.

It's so funny to see all the left-wing-nuts chiming in about "dangerous" this and "she's not so smart" that.. all the while clawing and scraping to crawl into Palin's lime-light. (Just who is it that is *forcing* the rabble of reporters to follow her around?)

Whatever Palin is, she is doing it well, and inspiring people to want more from this country -and this government- than we are currently getting, period.

Regardless of what you think of her, she is succeeding, and thereby exposing the below-average media mouths for what they are.

It is so entertaining to see how riled up her enemies get at just the thought of her being something, or doing something, in the name of America.

KUDOS to Sarah Palin, finally "1 upping a 1 upper"(media). Last I checked, the media was NOT MANDATED BY LAW, OR FORCED to follow her. after TWO years of verbal bashing,character assassination, family attacks FROM the media, a stalker author....she finally threw a curveball!!! Any one of you would have done the same thing, LAUGHING all the way. I know I would often can you make the media look this desperate??? I say "DRIVE BABY DRIVE" BWAHAHAHAHAHA.

Run, Sarah run. Sarah Palin was so successful as a governor, she graduated early “Bitter Quitter”, she real is a “Dan Quayle” in heels. She clearly loves “dishing it out” but real can’t take it because she loves playing the victim card. Poor thing she fail as a VP candidate (her lie that her daughter was engaged was such a farce), her stand-up comic fiasco on the Jay Leno Show, please, her TV show canceled after declining rating, I guess her perpetual run for the White House is the only thing she can look forward to, but since she is a coward she will only throw small minded rocks, poor thing. Since we already had an idiot “W” that caused our current economic debacle, America knows not to trust the GOP fools who flaunt the idiocy.

You know what this current crowd of GOP liars want is to turn the United Sates into China, where only a few giant corporations run things, they own the factories, that apartments, the grocery stores, the gas stations, the newspaper and magazine publications, the radio stations, the television stations and you pay them and they get all the benefits, and if you do not like it go jump off cliff. Well some Chinese workers seeing that as individuals that they cannot progress have done just that by committing suicide. The current crowd of GOP liars want to abolish Medicare from the elderly, they want to abolish a woman’s right to choose and have control over her own body, they want to abolish collective bargaining rights, and on top of it all they want to blame the poor, the middle class and the public sector workers for a recession that the GOP created, while their beloved “Fat cats” continue to pay themselves exorbitant salaries, bonuses, fringe benefits. Yes this is the GOP “Radical Right-Wing Social Engineering” that they dream about. The win in New York was the beginning but the next will be Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin and later the other states of our nation. So run, Sarah run.

I'm not even going to read these posts because the actual truth is so profoundly and professionally embarrassing. So let me get this straight, the Palin family only begins a family trip across the Nation in the biggest friggin SUV on the planet and you can’t keep up let alone get a sound bite? With this being effectuated from who you all say is the dumbest woman this side of history? The truth here is Ms. Palin is making the MSM look deaf, blind and dumb with ease. Gotta hand it you Ms. Palin, keep this up. This is better entertainment by way of media reaction than Disneyland and yes this includes you ABC.

Look, Sarah Palin says she's on a personal tour so, until she says anything different, that's what she's on. She hasn't asked the press to follow her. She isn't sending them her agenda, so why are the following her. If you're the media, don't you get to pick your candidates? If she was going to announce, and you weren't invited, who would be hurt?

I'm glad she's doing this. There is no doubt the press has treated her unfairly these past almost 3 years, so why should she give them unlimited axcess?

Sarah Palin, living in the libs brains for FREE.. ha ha ha ha ha ha
Rock on Sarah, stick it to em...

The more you snide commenters hate her, the more I like her!

AimeeX said: "Palin influences only a small number, not enough for presidential office or VP--she was partially responsible for McCain's crushing defeat."
Prove that, please. You can't state your personal OPINION as though it's fact. If you say that's fact... support it with evidence.

I can say that I, personally, was actually debating whether to vote at all... I dislike John McCain (and his overt assaults on the 1st Amendment, supposedly through "campaign finance reform," among other issues). I knew who Barack Obama was since before he ran for my State Senate office in Illinois... and always knew he was anti-American. So I MIGHT have eventually given in and voted for McCain anyway... but it would have been tough.

Sarah Palin, by contrast, was also known to me before she was chosen by McCain. I knew she was anti-establishment, conservative, and "mainstream" (ie, not one of the "Kennedy-esque elites" that the left seems to fawn over so much)

When McCain chose Palin, my vote was a lock-in. Not for him... but for her.


Oh, and by the way, AimeeX... I'll wager that my IQ is something like twice yours... so please don't bother to try to call me, or people who agree with me, "stupid." Okeydokey?

"She does attract bigtime public interest, but like a freaky celebrity; most don't take her seriously."

So... why are you commenting here? If you don't take her seriously... why expend the energy? Just curious...

I think that the evidence shows just the opposite. Someone who no one takes seriously would not have to go through the left-sponsored abuse she and her family have faced since being put into the national spotlight.

If she isn't taken seriously... why not spend this time focusing on the people who actually matter? HmmmMMMMMM?

You're not saying that people don't take her seriously... you're saying that you wish people didn't take her seriously. And complaining that anyone who disagrees with you, and those who agree with you, must be doing so out of the same sensibility which leads to people watching Jerry Springer.

Sorry... you're not the smartest one in the room, AimeeX. Not even close. But don't worry, we'll take care of you anyway. :)

"Hard to understand why so many find her entertaining and amusing; I think she's just incredibly annoying."

So, why are you spending time commenting? As a rule, I AVOID things I find annoying... unless they're literally right in my face, making it impossible to avoid them (blocking traffic, occupying state offices, vandalizing things, etc).

Sarah hasn't done any of those things. So... stop being annoyed. Just ignore her. She is, after all... "irrelevant." RIGHT?

"Media deserves the rough travel conditions, trailing this clownish woman everywhere and publicizing her. That's what they get for imposing her on the nation, constantly showing her silly face and playing her videos on TV, websites, and newspapers. "

So... what do YOU deserve for spending the time to post, repeatedly, on a topic you say is not important.

(FYI... yes, I'm taking you to task... but at least you wrote a coherent comment. You're not the most egregious comment here, but most of those worse are clearly written by people with psychological problems... you, at least, seem to have more than two working brain cells to rub together!)

Mention Sarah Palin and libs froth at the mouth.

Haha eat your hearts out left-wing media! Try your snarky little "news items" now, suckers! Go Sarah!

This is such a funny article. "...inexperienced gaffes..." by Sarah Palin. I don't believe I've ever heard the msm accuse Obama of inexperienced gaffes, and he is rife with them. "I've visited 57 states with 2 more to go..." - that was worse than Dan Quayle not spelling potato correctly! What American citizen thinks we have 57 states? And what kind of CIC cannot pronounce 'corps' as in Marine Corps? He sounds like he talking about a dead body. Really, really ignorant mistake.

Bowing low to the Saudi king, signing '2008' to a guest book in GB in 2011, droning on and one while the British national anthem played...those are but a drop in the ocean. Just google Obama gaffes and there are pages of documented sources and videos of him with with foot in his mouth.

So who's inexperienced?

anOPINIONATEDsob said:

"Greta Van Susteren is not the brightest bulb in the box either.... the other couldn't put OJ away with a courtroom full of evidence. "

FYI, Greta wasn't a prosecutor on the OJ trial, she was analyzing the trial on CNN. The lead prosecutor was named Marcia Clark ( who happens to be a Democrat btw ) with Christopher Darden ( also a Democrat ) sitting second chair.

Isn't it ironic that YOU were the one accusing other people of not being very bright?

the mainstream media in America has become an absolute joke... they no longer hold to any principles of ethical journalism.

@ Gen Martok:
Typical comment by a fascist intolerant lacking in critical thinking.

Ummm. . . If you don't want to be played like a violin, then just don't follow her and give her more media coverage. You complain about the media spectacle you create yourself. You don't have anyone to blame but yourself. Duh.
Also, she is a private citizen. It is not like she is an office holder that has to do all of the usual stuff. Duh.

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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